June 2022

Photo Contest to Celebrate International Tiger Day

Tigers in America and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries are pleased to announce our third annual photo and video contest to celebrate International Tiger Day, July 29, 2022.

The contest provides a platform for visual storytellers to highlight the plight of tigers living in captivity in the United States and promote the rescue of tigers to the protected safety of a true sanctuary.  The contest, which aims to identify the best photo or video of a tiger in the U.S., based on overall beauty, power, photographic skill, creativity, and how well it represents the tiger, is open to all entrants.

The contest will open for submissions on June 26, 2022 and run until July 15, 2022, with winners announced on July 29, 2022.  Prizes include $1,000 for the winning submission and $100 each for five runners-up.  Winning submissions will also be posted on the Tigers in America and GFAS websites and social media.

For more information on the contest, including instructions on how to apply and an entry form, please click here.

About Tigers in America

Tigers in America is an all-volunteer rescue organization. Since their inception in 2011 they have rescued and relocated more than 300 tigers and other big cats to accredited sanctuaries in this country. Learn more at https://www.tigersinamerica.org/

Save the Date: Accepting Nominations for the 2022 Carole Noon and
Outstanding Sanctuary Awards Starting July 1, 2022

GFAS will begin accepting nominations for the 2022 Carole Noon and Outstanding Sanctuary Awards July 1, 2022, through September 2, 2022. Please make sure to keep an eye on our social media channels for more information. You can view more information and past winners on our website.

United Horse Coalition’s Annual Meeting and Panel Discussion

No zoom meeting this year! The United Horse Coalition’s annual meeting and panel discussion was held in person, on Sunday, June 5th in Washington, DC. The panel discussion centered on, “How Accreditation and Partnerships are Professionalizing the Field: What it can do for equine welfare sheltering organizations, the equine community, and the horses they help”. Panel participants included the Standardbred Transition Alliance, Thoroughbred Charities of America, The ASPCA’s Right Horse, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, the EQUUS Foundation, and Daryl Tropea, representing the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. A recording of the panel discussion will be available soon.

Each panelist addressed questions that ranked highly among the surveyed interests of the equine rescue/sanctuary population. The first question discussed was, “Why do you feel it’s important for rescues and sanctuaries to become accredited? What’s the incentive?” While many of the responses from the panel organizations were similar, there were certainly differences as well, given that each organization has different missions and goals. From a GFAS perspective, click here for a few of the impacts of verification and accreditation that were shared with the audience.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary: Going Above and Beyond

GFAS Accredited, Wild Animal Sanctuary, located in Keenesburg, Colorado provides nearly 800 acres of peace and tranquility to a variety of exotic and domesticated animals, but predominantly big cats, and bears. Since 1980, the dedicated staff have offered exceptional animal care and spacious enclosures to animals that have suffered immense cruelty and neglect. In 2001, the sanctuary opened to receive visitors for the first time along their newly constructed elevated walkway and observation deck. Every visitor to the sanctuary must first watch a video about the captive wildlife crisis before entering the walkway to view the animals. This simple requirement means that thousands of people per year learn the hard truth about wildlife exploitation and the sheer number of animals in need of rescue.

With demand for sanctuary space ever increasing, the group purchased an enormous property consisting of 9,752 acres near Springfield, Colorado that is now the Wild Animal Refuge. The site is naturally abundant with large rocks, trees, caves, hills, canyons and buttes. Habitats range from 5-300 acres, allowing animals to run, roam, dig dens, perch atop hills and rock formations, and live according to their own terms. The animals will finally experience the meaning of true sanctuary, for once, they will have the ability to choose how they spend their time and where, all while being monitored, cared for and fed by expertly trained staff.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary was asked to take over a 41-acre facility located in Boyd, Texas when the former owner decided to retire. This sanctuary is home to lions, tigers, bears, wolves and other rescued captive wildlife and is now known as The Wild Animal Sanctuary – Texas. All of the Wild Animal Sanctuary properties combine to offer over 10,000 acres to animals in need.

Flight to Freedom

The Wild Animal Sanctuary has never shied away from challenging and dangerous rescues around the world and they recently made headlines once again. The sanctuary partnered with Korean Animal Welfare Association (KAWA) in Seoul, South Korea to liberate 22 moon bears from a breeding farm supplying the bile industry (the commercial harvesting of bear gallbladders and bile extraction for antiquated medicinal use). The bears were kept in dark sheds, confined in tiny suspended cages made of rebar year after miserable year. The rescue, years in the making, saw major delays due to the pandemic shutting all viable transportation options down. In early 2022, when air cargo flights finally became available, the rescue plan commenced immediately and two planes were secured to fly the bears out of South Korea to Los Angeles. Upon landing, the bears were inspected by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, and given clearance to make the final leg of the journey to their forever home at the Wild Animal Refuge. Once arrived, the bears stepped on to soft earth for the first time. A first step towards freedom of choice, bodily autonomy, and reclaiming nature as their birthright. GFAS is proud to stand with the Wild Animal Sanctuary and their extraordinary efforts to rescue animals in desperate need from anywhere and at any time.

To learn more please visit: wildanimalsanctuary.org


Founder Spotlight: Daniella Tessier, Accredited Peace Ridge Sanctuary, ME

Daniella Tessier is determined. In the way that allows sanctuary founders and directors to do what they do so successfully. With a conviction and unshakeable tenacity that surmount the incredible hardships endemic to sanctuary work.

When I met her last summer, I was struck by the vision she has brought to life at Peace Ridge. The “ridge” in the name refers to an actual mountain which the sanctuary owns and from which it operates – not only to protect farmed and companion animals, but also to safeguard the wildlife living there.

The sanctuary itself could be described as meticulous – so high are the standards of cleanliness and care I witnessed there, a nod to the extensive experience that Daniella brings to the table. As a veterinary professional, animal rights activist, and former shelter staff, she has pulled together the threads of knowledge needed to adeptly provide high-quality lifetime sanctuary to animals and woven them into a real masterpiece. She’s a professional in the true sense of the word.

In a letter to supporters she says:

The sanctuary movement represents to me the potential we have to recreate a positive paradigm for our relationship with animals; sanctuaries give us the stage to show people “this is how it could be.”

So here we are, as I see it; a country and world that is much divided on the issue of animal welfare and rights. At Peace Ridge we take a stance that is pro-animal in every way and we hope that we can inspire others to do the same. I do believe we will live to see the day when animal rights are as widely recognized as civil rights. I hope as an organization we can help to promote this idea and inspire our audience to act in ways that strengthen the social justice process that will lead us to that end.

Likewise, her staff follow her example, in their commitment both to the animals and their continuing education as a pathway to maintaining excellence.

The sprawling size of the sanctuary along with caregiver expertise recently allowed Peace Ridge to rescue an entire herd of cows from an emergency seizure, including orphaned calves, pregnant cows, and mothers with calves, all of whom would need serious medical attention. They are the only sanctuary in the region equipped to take on cases of this size and scope.

We are extremely fortunate to have Daniella and Peace Ridge’s expertise in the GFAS Family. To learn more about their work, visit peaceridgesanctuary.org.

Highlighting GFAS Verified Sunshine Horses, NY

GFAS Verified Sunshine Horses in Clay, NY has a significant goal this year, and that is to become GFAS Accredited. The two levels of GFAS certification, Verification and Accreditation, both address standards demonstrating excellence in animal care and safety, but Accreditation provides additional assessment of management best practices, and signifies adherence to standards addressing the sustainability of the organization, ethical principles, finances, staffing, education outreach, security and more. We encourage, support, and applaud organizations such as Sunshine Horses that have made this their goal.

Sunshine Horses was established in 2003 and has found homes for more than 250 horses. While they specialize in Standardbred horses, they will help any breed of horse in need. Sunshine Horses is also committed to helping people. They work with community organizations in central New York, emphasizing equine welfare issues and the value of the human-horse bond which mutually strengthens trust and enrichment, and prepares these horses for adoption.

To learn more about Sunshine Horses of New York, please visit Sunshine Horses (#notsostandard).

New Certifications and Renewals

Over the past month, GFAS has certified two new groups and renewed two GFAS organizations! Congratulations to all these groups!

New Certifications

Dream Catcher Stables, Texas
Hasty’s Haven, South Carolina


Black Pine Animal Sanctuary, Indiana
Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue, New York



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